• Little Squirts with a big future

    SCIENTISTS say infertility problems for thousands of childless couples could be solved by a humble sea creature. The Sea Squirt - a slug-like form of marine life usually found clinging to mooring ropes - reproduces in a similar way to humans. It has enabled

  • Happy Valley as match looks safe

    Sunderland's Premiership match at Charlton on Saturday is almost certain to be given the go-ahead. The game was thrown into doubt earlier this week when surveyors found defects in steel girders in the roof of the six-year-old East Stand at The Valley.

  • Tobacco workers on the march

    Hundreds of tobacco workers descended on Westminster yesterday to highlight the European legislation which they say threatens more than 10,000 UK jobs. Many staff from British American Tobacco's (BAT) Rothmans plant in Darlington joined colleagues from

  • Court told how rapist dragged mother by hair

    A MOTHER was raped by a stranger who dragged her into his home and subjected her to a horrifying ordeal, a court heard yesterday. The 25-year-old said that she was walking through the streets at 3.30am when stranger David Smith, 21, asked her if she would

  • Swedish ace Svensson attracts Reid's interest

    SUNDERLAND are to run the rule over £2m-rated Swedish international Anders Svensson this week. The 24-year-old midfielder, voted Player of the Year in Sweden after scoring ten goals for his club, Elfsborg, is due to fly to the North-East to enable Wearsiders

  • A safe route to scoot

    YOUNGSTERS are being taught a lesson to ensure that what is expected to be one of this year's most popular Christmas presents does not lead to tragedy. Backed by Cleveland Police, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council launched a scooter safety course yesterday

  • Inmate in wrong cell, inquest jury told

    AN inmate found hanging in prison had been put in the wrong cell, an inquest heard yesterday. A doctor recommended that Thomas Duffield, 24, be put in a communal cell at Teesside's Holme House jail, because he was looking shaky from drug withdrawal. Instead

  • Enraged by captive cruelty

    We don't have dancing bears now, do we? Of course not. If we did, the public would, rightly, feel nothing but disgust. But hold on a minute. We still do have dancing bears. They're called dolphins these days, and people love to see them perform. And the

  • Net way to help tourists

    COACH firms are being urged to drive the information superhighway before sending excursions into the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. A partnership between the local authorities which cover one of England's most popular tourist destinations has already seen

  • Flasher struck in cemetery

    A SERIAL flasher escaped jail yesterday after exposing himself to two girls - a month after he was convicted of similar sex acts. Kevin Heels, 31, left the girls, aged 13 and 14, embarrassed and alarmed after he exposed himself in a cemetery in daylight

  • Delight as bail hostel opposed

    PROTESTORS battling to prevent a 25-bedroom bail hostel being built in the middle of their town were celebrating yesterday as planning officials recommended the scheme be scrapped. Chester-le-Street District Council planning officers recommended that

  • Man denies stick attack caused death

    A wife bled to death after she was punched, kicked, stamped on and repeatedly beaten with a walking stick by her husband, a court heard yesterday. Patricia Dodds, 42, had suffered years of abuse at the hands of her husband, Thomas, before the fatal attack

  • Ambulance charity in call for fundraising aid

    THE St John Ambulance Bricks and Wheels appeal received a £500 boost this week with a donation from Barclays Bank North Yorkshire group. The charity, which provides first aid training and ambulance cover at public events, aims to raise £840,000 to pay

  • The lorry that made lots of lolly

    WHEN it was new, this Matchbox toy cost 2s 6d - or just 12.5p. Yesterday, 39 years later, it fetched £7,475 and established a new world record. The 1961 Magirus Deutz crane-lorry - in a trial colour only used on a handful of models - was sold to a German

  • Free parking for Christmas shoppers

    SHOPPERS will be able to park their cars in Darlington town centre without charge for four evenings in the run-up to Christmas. Darlington Borough Council has approved plans to allow free parking in its car parks on the late-night shopping evenings before

  • Neale patients backing doctors

    THE patient group at the heart of the Richard Neale scandal has revealed it is backing a group of doctors at the same hospital who are in dispute with management. Sheila Wright-Hogeland, a founder of the Action and Support Group for Medical Victims of

  • 'Give your card cash to charity'

    EMPLOYEES across the region are being encouraged to pass on some festive goodwill - by not sending Christmas cards to work colleagues. Instead, they are being asked to send the money they would have spent on the cards to Childline Yorkshire and North-East

  • Uptons to close half of stores

    STORE chain Uptons is closing its Middlesbrough store with the loss of around 34 jobs. Four other stores, including two branches at Bishop Auckland and one each in Peterlee and Chester-le-Street are set to close with the loss of another 18 jobs. Hilco

  • Debate on future of community centre

    A PUBLIC meeting is to be held to discuss the future of a Teesdale community centre. The meeting will give organisations and the public a chance to discuss the findings of a recent study into the future of Witham Hall, in Barnard Castle. The survey was

  • Park chief welcomes bridge repair grant

    A SIGNIFICANT step towards repairing some of the damage done by flash floods in Swaledale was confirmed yesterday. The Department of the Environment (DETR) has said it will cover just over half the costs of rebuilding Reeth's historic swing bridge, swept

  • MP fasts for charity

    AN MP who likes his food gave it up for a whole day, for charity. Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Ashok Kumar fasted for 24 hours to raise money for Oxfam. He could not even be tempted with a large sandwich, offered him by Oxfam volunteer Suzanne

  • Comprehensive school rewards its prize pupils

    YOUNGSTERS at a Darlington school will have their efforts rewarded at a prize-giving ceremony being held tonight. Dozens of prizes and trophies will be presented as part of the ceremony at Branksome Comprehensive School. They will include prizes for academic

  • Centre seeks home for puppies

    THREE mongrel puppies need a home after being left as the last in a litter. The National Animal Sanctuary Support League's (NASSL) Darlington centre is hoping an owner with lots of time and love to give will come forward. Aged seven weeks, the puppies

  • Basketball player aims for big league

    A YOUNG basketball player's talents could bounce him into the big league. Sam Attah, a pupil at St John's Comprehensive School, Bishop Auckland, plays in what is thought to be the only under-16s basketball team in County Durham. The Wear Valley Warriors

  • Man in broken bottle attack on woman

    POLICE are looking for an overweight man who attacked a woman with a broken bottle. The man hit the woman over the head with a bottle, then lunged at her, slashing her across one arm and her back. She was taken to hospital for treatment for her injuries

  • University chief in attack on top-up fees

    A UNIVERSITY official has condemned moves to increase students' tuition fees. Professor Derek Fraser, vice- chancellor of the University of Teesside, criticised calls by some universities to introduce top-up fees. The Middlesbrough university was one

  • Bus firm apology on 'rude' driver

    NORTH-EAST bus company Arriva has been forced to apologise after a woman passenger complained that one of its drivers rudely refused a fare. Mother-of-two Vicky Turnbull, from Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, says she was turned away because the bus was

  • Hunt on for trio after robbery

    DETECTIVES have issued descriptions of three men wanted in connection with an armed robbery at a Tyneside post office. A man wielding a sledgehammer broke the security screen at Crookhill post office, in Ryton, Gateshead, while an accomplice brandished

  • The trouble with working from home

    MORE men than women want to work from home. I blame it on the wallpaper. The best thing about working from home - which I've done for nearly 20 years - is that you don't have to get dressed properly, you can take a break whenever you like AND you get

  • Appeal for witnesses after pub manager is beaten and robbed

    A PUB manager was battered and robbed by two masked men as he walked to his car. The attack took place at 2.30pm, on Monday, in the car park of The Barnes pub, Durham Road, Sunderland. Two crooks, believed to be men, wearing ski masks, hit the manager

  • Blood test for CJD

    A SIMPLE blood test for the human form of mad cow disease may be within reach, thanks to a breakthrough announced by scientists. Experts believe they may eventually be able to tell who is at risk by developing a test that will provide an answer to fears

  • Pupils 'above average' in reading

    PUPILS in Darlington are above the national average in reading, writing and spelling at Key Stage 1. However, they are below the national average in mathematics at the same stage. The statistics for the year 2000 were presented to Darlington Borough Council's

  • Strike threat worthwhile

    Martin Johnson last night defended the industrial action taken by England's Test match squad, and declared: ''I don't believe it was waste of time.'' The captain also dismissed Rugby Football Union suggestions that his players had not understood details

  • Bennett's blow

    Darlington manager Gary Bennett's bid for a new striker looks doomed. Bennett has been keeping an eye on a striker currently playing in the UniBond League Premier Division and made a move after watching him play for his League against the FA in a representative

  • You write...

    AYCLIFFE ANGELS HOW good to read that a further step has been taken for a memorial in London for us, the Aycliffe Angels, and for those wartime workers who were killed at Aycliffe, their place of work (Echo, Nov 16). Out of the 17,000 travelling to work

  • A few teensy mistakes in US election

    AS America holds its breathlessness, news via Ike Dawson - former director of Teesside International Airport - of other curious election practices in Florida. Ike, now in Gainford - Gainford-in-Teesdale, he likes to call it - sends an account e-mailed

  • Angry Slaven hits out at Riverside stars

    BERNIE SLAVEN has launched a scathing attack on Middlesbrough's star players, accusing them of picking up their wages under false pretences. Former Boro goal hero Slaven singled out Croatian striker Alen Boksic, who is claimed to be being paid £63,000

  • Sadie's busting with pride over retail award

    BUSINESSWOMAN and former beauty queen Sadie Ayton certainly lives life in the fast lane. For soon after she reached her home in Consett, County Durham, after picking up a national award in London, she was driving through the night to Blackpool, to take

  • Lecturers take action over threat to jobs

    LECTURERS at a North-East university have started industrial action over job cuts. More than 630 lecturers at Northumbria University will not mark essays or exam scripts after hearing of plans to cut 130 jobs - nearly seven per cent of staff. Natfhe union

  • Chip shop has taste of success

    A FISH and chip shop is savouring success after winning a national award for standards in the industry. Morley's, at Cheveley Park, on the outskirts of Durham City, collected the Seafish Friers Quality Award after a tough inspection. Judges looked at

  • Cleared of kidnapping

    A MAN has been cleared of kidnapping and beating his former lover in a bid to get her to drop court charges against him. Gail Prest claimed ex-partner Leslie Cowe flipped after she told him their relationship was over. She said he drove to her home in

  • Villagers promised new river defences

    A SERIES of flood defence measures have been approved for one of the region's worst-hit areas. Yesterday, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council approved measures aimed at preventing a repetition of flooding in the east Cleveland village of Skinningrove

  • Banned driver urged by friends to take wheel

    A DRIVER was threatened with violence if he did not take his friends home after a Friday night out, a court heard yesterday. Because he had not drunk alcohol all evening, Richard Kay was the only one of the group who was sober. Under pressure, he got

  • Show trip ended in street disorder

    A day out at the Great Yorkshire Show ended with four men drinking in the centre of Harrogate before getting involved in a fracas in the street, in which a man was punched and kicked. Harrogate magistrates branded the men's behaviour "disgraceful" yesterday

  • Children pay green tribute

    CHILDREN from a north-west Durham village have paid tribute to a famous young victim of the Second World War, and improved their environment. The children created a small wood at Dipton, near Stanley, as part of Derwentside District Council's commitment

  • who's a chatty boy, then?

    RSPCA officers are trying to trace the owners of a cockatiel which squawks the theme tune to the classic comedy the Adams Family. The grey bird, nicknamed Gomez, sat silently for 24 hours after being spotted by a passer-by on a busy road. However, he

  • Showtime and other fun at the town hall

    A town hall puts on its entertainment hat next month. Events to suit all ages and tastes take place at Bishop Auckland Town Hall in December. There will be theatre, music and popular annual events, including the annual Civic Society Town Quiz, on Wednesday

  • College aids African pupils

    A COLLEGE is teaming up with schools to help South African pupils. The school council at Woodham Community Technology College, Newton Aycliffe, was contacted by the Winston Churchill Trust earlier this year, asking if it would be willing to link with

  • Dales garage roars to success

    A YOUNG couple who took the plunge and set up their own garage business in a Dales village have had their hard work rewarded. Craig and Donna Jameson set up their business, C. Jameson Motor Services, in the County Durham Village of Wearhead two years

  • Radio rivals rub along together in the spirit of christmas

    RADIO presenters from rival stations are teaming up to provide buckets of festive fun for North-East youngsters this Christmas as Newcastle Opera House's seasonal pantomime, Aladdin, approaches. It brings together two of the region's most listened to

  • Council care home to be demolished

    ONE of Darlington's council-run care homes recently scheduled for closure is to be demolished. Councillors last night agreed that Darlington Borough Council's Moorcroft home should be demolished to thwart vandals. A report to the council's cabinet ratification

  • Library fines for children scrapped

    PLANS to scrap fines on overdue library books borrowed by children in Darlington were approved last night. People under 17 will be exempt from charges by Darlington Borough Council after the cabinet ratification committee approved the plan last night.

  • Tees businesses to benefit from enhanced support service

    FIRMS in the Tees Valley can expect to be served by a business support organisation that is more customer-focussed. That's the promise made by businessman Rob Shotton, newly appointed chair of the new Small Business Service (SBS) board in the Tees Valley

  • Bridge operation spans world

    THOUSANDS of sightseers turned out yesterday for a glimpse of the region's latest landmark. The 850-tonne Gateshead Millennium Bridge attracted large crowds, even though it is not due to open until next year. The world's first rotating bridge was moved

  • Plans unveiled for new village

    PLANS to create a new village in Newton Aycliffe have taken a step forward after an 18-month consultation exercise. Sedgefield Borough Council has prepared a revised planning brief for Cobblers Hall after lengthy consultation. Hundreds of homes are to

  • Forgotten toys that are worth a small fortune

    THE good news is that your childhood toy cars and spaceships could be worth a bob or two. But the bad news is if you ever took them out of the box and actually played with them, the chances of them making you rich are seriously diminished. The past few

  • Angela fights back to health and success

    A WOMAN who overcame a severe eating disorder to inspire others has won a national Volunteer of the Year award. In the past year, 25-year-old, Angela Hall won a place at Northumbria University, to study occupational therapy, and was chosen from thousands

  • European insight into school violence

    AN international initiative is encouraging staff and pupils at a south Durham comprehensive school to look at the problem of school violence through European eyes. King James 1st Community College, in Bishop Auckland, has played host to visiting teachers

  • Gap to be bridged for villagers

    A TEMPORARY bridge is to relieve a community cut off since its ancient river crossing was partially washed away in recent floods. The bridge is expected to be completed by the end of November, to replace the collapsed Creet's Bridge on the Ripon to Kirkby

  • Homebase set to be sold by Christmas

    SUPERMARKET giant Sainsbury plans to agree the sale of its Homebase DIY chain before Christmas. But Sainsbury chief executive Sir Peter Davis admitted that reaching an agreement to sell the chain had taken longer than anticipated. He refused to be drawn

  • Stabbed after confronting car youths

    A MAN was stabbed when he tried to stop two youths tampering with his car. The 35-year-old was at home in Coltsfoot Gardens, Windy Nook, Gateshead, at 1.20am yesterday when he heard a noise outside. He found the youths trying to break into his Ford Escort

  • B&Q helps Kingfisher fly high

    STRONG growth from the B&Q DIY chain has helped retail group Kingfisher generate record sales in the third quarter of this year. The group, which is in the process of splitting its DIY and electrical division, including B&Q and Comet, from its

  • Charity's bag appeal to shoppers

    AN environmental charity is urging people in the North-East to play their part in reducing waste. Going for Green is campaigning to encourage shoppers to stop throwing away plastic bags. Going for Green's North-East regional director, Marian Harrison,

  • Police alert over store raid

    POLICE are warning stores and off-licences to be vigilant in the run-up to Christmas. An attempted burglary at the Asda store in Spennymoor, was foiled by staff in the early hours of Tuesday. Thieves cut a hole in an electric fence around the store in

  • Police hunt for urn owners

    POLICE are appealing for the owners of two giant garden urns to come forward to claim them. They were found in the Bishop Auckland area on November 9 and could have been stolen any time before that. Two people arrested on the same day have been questioned

  • Industry's 'black sheep' say -get off our baccy'

    THERE is a strong feeling of resentment smouldering among tobacco workers across the country. Resentment towards the European Union for attempting to implement laws they see as a real threat to their jobs. Perhaps more importantly, there is resentment

  • Real class proves too much for Leeds

    David O'Leary's proud European record as manager of Leeds was brought to a shuddering halt last night as his United side bowed to the kings of European football. Two goals in two minutes in the second half was enough to end a run of 11 matches without

  • New team of specials drafted in to combat village crime

    FIVE special constables went on patrol yesterday to help make life safer for thousands of villagers. The team of special constables will help to fight crime in Crook, Willington and some of the more remote communities in Upper Weardale. They have joined

  • Lord Of Sky and Carlisle

    CHAMPIONSHIP material Lord Of Sky (1.25) has the class to complete a well-deserved hat-trick on an all-chase card at Carlisle this afternoon. Due to waterlogging the hurdle track is shut, but that won't affect Len Lungo's brilliant young chaser, who is

  • What everyone wants and most won't get

    ELECTRONICS giant Sony kicks off a massive advertising campaign for the PlayStation 2 tomorrow. The message: if you haven't bought one already, you're probably too late. A worldwide shortage of machines has seen the European allocation of PS2 machines